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Accueil arrow newsitems arrow New CLRAE President Mosler-Tornstrom to EF: No Ghetto+Radicalisation. Digital+Education in 2017-2022

New CLRAE President Mosler-Tornstrom to EF: No Ghetto+Radicalisation. Digital+Education in 2017-2022

Ecrit par ACM
mercredi, 19 octobre 2016
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- A firm "No" to more Ghettos and Radicalisation in European Cities, coupled to a Strong Wish for Education and Digital Democracy, for the Next 4 Years of the Period 2017-2020, right from the "Grassroots", at a Local/Regional Communities' level, were, in Substance, the main points of the Reply, by the New President of the PanEuropean CoE's Watchdog for Local and Regional Democracy (CLRAE), Mrs Gudrun Mosler-Tornstrom, a Swedish-Austrian EU Integration live example, in Reply to 2 relevant Questions by "Eurofora", at her 1st Press Conference with Strasbourg's Journalists, earlier Today, just before Starting to Chair a series of Topical CLRAE Debates at its Plenary Session of Autumn 2016, (Comp. f.ex. Infra).


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Elected with a Wide Majority of 183 Votes, against only 8, and 11 Abstentions, the New President of CLRAE is the First Woman to get the Top Job at the PanEuropean, 47 Member Countries and 850 Million Citizens - strong CoE's Watchdog for Local and Regional Democracy, after initial Studies in the USA (Alabama), Sweden (Stockholm), and Salzburg (Austria), worked in Big German Companies, such as Siemens and Mannesman, but had also an Experience as Self-Employed Consultant, Founder and Manager of the first Ergonomics Centre in Austria, (etc), while also being Mother of 3 Children, and Married to a Professor of Labour and Social Law, before Engaging in a career of Elected Politician, both in Local, Regional and European level, where she served Recently as President of the Socialist Group inside the CLRAE, but mainly as Chairwoman of CLRAE's powerful Chamber of Regions.

 

 

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Gudrun Mosler-Tornstrom, had earlier stressed that, in her view, in the "Enlarged Horizon" of "a New Page due to be opened in CLRAE's History, CoE's core Values, on "Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law", are due to become "More Important than Ever", including in order to "Stabilize the Democratic Structures of our Societies", which, given also "the GeoPolitical situation", will have to Face more "Challenges" in the foreseable Future, as she Warned.

 - But, "Eurofora", pointed at her Personal initial University Background, dedicated to Digital Computers "Systems Analysis" and "Programming", and Asked her, mainly, about the potential role of "Digital Citizenship" Projects and Education, among various other Measures, also useful in order to Fight against Dangerous Socio-Cultural "Ghettos" and Radicalisation, which recently popped up in several Cities accross Europe, (even around Brussels, London, Rotterdam, Paris, etc.), in addition to their Importance for the Development of Local/Regional Democracy in itself.


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+ EDUCATION AGAINST GHETTOS + RADICALISATION
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-"Let me Start with your Question on Ghettos, and so on" : "We (CLRAE) are doing a lot of Work about it, also about How to Help, f.ex. by putting some Instruments, some Tools in the Hands of our Municipalities, our Cities, our Communities, etc. to Work with it", President Mosler-Tornstrom practicaly reacted from the outset .


 - "Just Today, we (CLRAE) introduced a New Project: The "Toolkit", including on Inter-Religious, and/or Inter-Cultural, Inter-Community work", she pointed out, (See Details Infra).


 - "This is a Toolkit Translated in Many Languages, so that all our Member States can Work with it".


+ "And we have done a lot of Work on a series of "Guidelines" in order to Prevent this" (Radicalisation), she added.


------------


Indeed, during the Debate of a Report on a "Strategy to Combat Radicalisation at Grass-Roots Level",  drafted by representatives from the Netherlands, Bert Bouwmeester (Liberal) and Germany/NRW Josef Neumann (Socialist), which was Adopted by a Large Majority Today by the CLRAE, the co-Rapporteurs stressed that "Local Authorities play a Key-Role in Preventing Radicalisation", "But are Not sufficiently Equiped" for that purpose.
Therefore, they presented a "ToolKit" due to Help also "Strengthen the <<Living Together>> Feeling" of the People, whose Contents Focus mainly on "3 Points : (1) Guidelines for Preventing Radicalisation, (2) Twelve Principles on Inter-Faith Dialogue, and (3) a specific, CLRAE new Website, including on "Inter-Cultural Dialogue", as they said.

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In fact, among CLRAE's "Priorities for 2017-2020", (according to a Report drafted by Gudrun Mosler-Tornstrom and Swedish ChristianDemocrat/EPP representative Anders Knape, and due to be Examined on Friday), this is closely related also with Wider Topical Issues, such as Promotion of "Ethics and Transparency" at Local/Regional levels, particularly by "Preventing Corruption", according to a Report drafted by Experienced, former Twice President of CLRAE, Dr. Herwig Van Staa, a Top ChristianDemocrat/EPP representative from Tyrol (Austria), which was Debated and Adopted Today.


 - "Population's Trust" in "Elected Politicians" requires "a High Level of Integrity", stress, indeed, the above mentioned "Priorities". Van Staa, (who is also CLRAE' "Mr. Anti-Corruption" since a long time), presented Today a "RoadMap" composed from 6 more specific Texts on the Fight against Corruption, including (1) Abuse of Administrative Resources, f.ex. in Elections, (2) Public Procurement issues, (3) Transparency, (4) Conflicts of Interest, (5) Cronyism, and (6) Protection of Whistle-Blowers". Moreover, an EU/CoE 1999 "Code of Conduct" should be "Reviewed and Extended to cover also Executive Staff and Officials in Local/Regional Government". Concerning Results in Real Practice, an "Evaluation Conference" is Planned for Next Autumn (2017), he anounced, while, however, Regretting the Fact that, still, "a European Prosecutor Office has not been established yet". But, at any case, "Transparency" and "Electronic Governance" (Comp. Infra) can become realy Helpful, he highlighted.


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    - But, "... where does a Ghetto Starts ?", Gudrun Mosler-Tornstrom went on to add, in her Reply to the above-mentioned "Eurofora"s Question (Comp. Supra). -"In a Ghetto, often you don't have much Possibility for Education, for Social Life, and so on, (etc) and this is so Important : Education !", she stressed.


    - "So, there we (CoE) have to Start !", CLRAE's New President pointed out.
 Education is, indeed, by a Timely "Coincidence", at the Focus of  CoE's Annual "World Democracy Forum"; November  2016 in Strasbourg, with UNESCO Director General, Irina Bokova, but also Norway's Prime Minister and various Top Experts throughout all Europe and other areas of the World.


--------------------------------------------


- "Oh, it would be Wonderful if we could Invent an Instrument, put it inside, and then, wait for it to work"....It would be too Good!", she laughed.  


- "But No, it's not like this... So, we (CoE) have to Go On", she Urged.


 - At any case, it will remain true that "We (CLRAE) do a lot of Work to Prevent such situations (of Radicalisation), and do our Best".


- "I'd be very Realistic" on that matter, she concluded Soberly, at least for the time being, (Comp. Supra).


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+ DIGITALISATION and Local/Regional Democracy
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+ On "the 2nd point" of "Eurofora"s Question : - "On Digitalisation : This not only for the People participating in our Meetings, (for Decision-Making process), etc".
--------------------


Indeed, Gudrun Mosler-Tornstrom had already stressed earlier that, more Widely speaking, Local/Regional "DeCentralisation gives More Possibilities for Citizens to Participate in the Decision-Making process by Public Authorities".


In this regard, a 2009 Additional Protocol to CLRAE's Charter, which consecrates a Citizens' Right for Participation in Decision taken by Public Authorities at a Local/Regional level, will be actively Supported and its Signature by the remaining CoE Member States which have not yet done so, shall be "Encouraged", particularly in the run-up to the 2018 Anniversary for CLRAE's more than 30 Years of existence.


While, precisely, "Digital Citizenship Education", was discussed by CoE's competent Ministers, recently in Brussels, while CoE's specialized Top Inter-Governemental body, its Steering Committee on Educational Policy and Practice (CDPPE) has just taken Decisions on that same matter, earlier Today in Strasbourg.


By a Timely Coincidence, almost at the Same Moment that CDPPE was also Examining a Plan of the Incomming CoE's Presidency by Cyprus, for the Period of Novembert 2016 - May 2017, to organise an Important PanEuropean/International Conference on Education in March 2017,

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during Today's CLRAE Debate on Young Representative's Projects from all over Europe, a Young Cypriot Girl, Margarita Christodoulidou, naively but interestingly suggested that, "If there are WiFi Internet Access for People living from Cyprus' Villages up to the UK and throughout other European Countries, then, Youngsters could Use Social Media Platforms, and, through them, would Reach Out to CoE's Networks", including on Citizens' Participation, Fight against Radicalisation, Local and Regional Democracy, etc, as she evoked.


----------------------------------

 

 

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 => - In fact, "Digitalisation is a ...Issue in our (CLRAE) Priorities, Starting from 2017, and going on for the Next 4 Years, (i.e. up to 2020), the New President of CLRAE officialy Announced, in Reply to "Eurofora"'s Question.


- "Because we see How Digitalisation is Influencing the whole Life we are in, of  All of us :"
- "I mean, just go to a Market-place, and see, Some People don't even Realize what is Happening around them, because they have the EarPhones, they Look at the Phone, and just Go Out".


 - But, "What does it Mean to our Social InterAction, for these matters. What does it mean on How we Deal with Each Other ? What does it Mean for Solidarity ? What does it mean for Democracy ?", she drove up to the main point...


 - "It's not only if we Work, Look and Talk to Each Other. But also what does it mean for Democracy ? And where do we get the Input from ?"


- "From the Social Media ?", she wondered, (just to Aknowledge the Fact that, "I am Using Social Media by myself", as she went on to admit)...


- "But, all those Questions, We (CLRAE) Have to Talk about it, and here, in the CoE", President Mosler-Tornstrom stressed, more widely.


 - "And those ones Who are First that are Confrontated with all that (i.e. Both those "Gheto" Risks, and the "Digitalisation" Questions and Potential, from Citizens' participation to Democratic Decision-Making, up to Economic and/or Social Dangers or, on the Contrary, Useful Projects, etc), are the Local and Regional Levels", (i.e. Towns, Regions, etc), she observed.


=> So, "They Have to Do that !", with "CoE's Congre's Help", she Concluded.


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+ CLRAE ELECTS A FRENCH GAULLIST TO ITS "GOVERNANCE" COMMITTEE
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Meanwhile, later this Afternoon, the PanEuropean CLRAE, (in a move which obviously has also a Symbolic Value),  decided to Elect a French Gaullist, Jean-Luis Testud, (a ChristianDemocrat/EPP Mayor of Suresnes, near Paris, who has served at Top Jobs at several Ministries or Big Companies, as "Air France", etc.) for President of its powerful "Governance" Committee, (who was, by coincidence, one amog the First to salute "Eurofora", earlier this Morning, just when we entered inside CoE).


De Gaulle is known Both for his Strong Will and Convictions, (obvious also in President Testud's most interventions at CLRAE's Debates for Years), as well as for his Attempt to Adopt, by Popular Referendum, an Important Reform of the French Senate, which would be Composed just by those New Regions that he wanted to create, already as early as since 1969...


-------------------------


In CLRAE's Mediatic "Current Affairs" Committee, it's Ms Gabriele Neff, a Liberal (FDP) from German Bavaria's Capital : Munich, who gets the Top Job.


Last, but not least, the Crucial Importance CLRAE's Committee of "Monitoring", elected as President the Experienced Head of the Dutch Delegation, Leen Verbeck, (Socialist), who is reportedly due, inter alia, to Draft a Report on the difficult current Situation in Turkey on 2017.

(../..)


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    The incoming Swedish EU Presidency (July-December 2009) may still remain in favour of Turkey's controversial EU bid, despite June 2009 EU Elections' results, but it has "very strong demands on Turkey"'s obligation to respect EU Rules, said the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, to "EuroFora", reacting to critical Press reports.

    - "I know (that) the link is often made also to Sweden's position on Turkey"'s controversial EU bid. Indeed, "we (Swedish EU Presidency) are very much engaged in the future membership of Turkey, but not without fullfiling all the Criteria".

    - "It's very clear that we (Swedish EU Presidecny) have very Strong Demands on Turkey, in a sort of concept for Future membership of the Union, ...which will be a Long Process...", she stressed.

    This means, in particular, "the Copenhagen Criteria (on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law), and also the adaptation to the Acquis of the European Union".

     - "If you listen to what Mr. Bildt (the Swedish Foreign Minister) says on Turkey at different occasions, it's very clear : We want Turkey to become part of the Union, in the Future. But we want it to fullfil all the Criteria : The Acquis of the European Union. That's very clear", she concluded.

    The Senior Official of the Swedish Foreign Ministry was reacting to critical Press Reports, from Brussels' Journalists invited by EU Commission's secretariat to Stockholm, who claimed that Bildt was abusing of a ..."Whip" (sic !) against Cyprus, by "threatening" the presence of UNO's Peace-keeping force at the "Green line" which separates the island's Government-controlled areas from the territories occupied by Ankara's army, if Nicosia didn't accept any political solution, regardless of Turkey's demands, before the end of 2009.

        Governing AKEL Party's new Secretary General, Andros Kyprianou, reacted by declaring that no-one can threat the People of Cyprus : -"We shall decide for our Future, and nobody else",  he reportedly said, asking to "keep calm". "In order to find a Solution soon, certain basic Principles must be respected", he stressed, calling those who feel an urgency to use their influence on Turkey. Other Political Parties were more critical.

    This was a reference to recently reported statements by Turkish Minister Bagis, Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan and Turkey's National Security Council (a Military-Political body), accused to push towards a partitionist "2 States" solution, contrary to UNO SC Resolutions for Cyprus' reunification.

    December 2009 is a crucial moment for EU's appraisal of Turkey's controversial EU bid, because EU Council has decided to review then Ankara's compliance with the European position on the recognition of Cyprus' Government, which was clearly set out by an EU reply of 21 September 2005 to Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan's claims, refusing to recognize even the existence of EU Member Cyprus, in controversial statements he made to London (former EU chair) on July 29, 2005.

    EU Parliament's latest Resolution on Turkey, adopted on March 2009 in Strasbourg, warned Ankara that "the non-fulfillment of Turkey's commitments... by December 2009, may further seriously affect the process of Negotiations" with the EU.

    In practice, the issue boils down to Ankara's "embargo" against Ships and Airplanes using Cyprus' seaports or airports at the strategic EU island, which traditionaly hosts one of the World's biggest Shipping flags. EU has already "freezed" 6 relevant Chapters in EU - Turkey Negotiations since December 2006, after Ankara refused to fullfil a commitment it had undertaken when EU had decided to open controversial "accession" negotiations with Turkey, back on December 2005.

    - "As far as EU - Turkey relations are concerned, it's clear that Turkey needs to fullfil its obligation of full, non-discriminatory implementation of the additional Protocol (to "EC-Turkey Association Agreement"),  This is an important issue....and should be addresseed as soon as possible as it clearly affects the pace of the accession negotiations.Issues covered by the Declaration of September 2005 will continue to be followed up, and progress is urgently awaited", warned earlier in Strasbourg the out-going Czech EU Presidency (former vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra).

    But the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, dismissed "interpretations" by "some" that Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was reportedly "threatening" Cyprus with consequences on the UNFICYP, if it doesn't accept any solution until December 2009, while Turkey is reportedly delaying in an attempt to impose a partitionist "2 States" solution.

    On the contrary, Julin, stressed that "Sweden has strong demands on Turkey'"s respect of "Copenhagen Criteria and EU Acquis".

    Meanwhile, Sweden  is "concerned" about the risk of "Stalemate" in Cyprus' Talks, but is well aware that "the main responsibilities lie with the two leaders and the UNO", Europe playing only a role of "facilitator".

    After carefully verifying, the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, stressed to "EuroFora" that Bildt's reference to UNFICYP "was not linked to a Threat", and dismissed those who "interpreted" it so.

    On the contrary, the Swedish EU Presidency acknowledged the fact that Peace Talks are mainly for the UN and the leaders of the Cypriot communities, EU's role being limited into that of a "facilitator".

    As for Turkey's reported attempts to impose a "2 States' solution", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service sharply replied by stressing that Turkey must respect the "EU Acquis" rules.

    In particular :

    - "Basically he (Bildt) underlined that it's the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus and the UN that have the main responsibilities for solving the problem", started to say the Swedish Senior Official to "EuroFora", referring to the above-mentioned "briefing".

    - "But the EU had a role in sort of pointing out the benefits and facilitating a little bit the outcome for the settlement of the whole Cyprus' issue", she added.

    - "And he did state the Fact, that the rest of the World (i.e. USA, etc) will, of course, look at the differend issues which are at the table, and the future of the UN Peace keeping force is part of what is at the table", she admitted.

    - "I understand that some have interpreted that as a Threat, by the Swedish Minister" "But", in reality, "it's a statement of a Fact, that, when we'll look at the differend issues, one of the issues on which we shall have to take a stand on, is the future of the UN Peace keeping force in Cyprus".

    Indeed, one of the questions usually raised for a Solution of Cyprus' issue is what International and/or European or other Guarantees, by a Peace-keeping force, might be needed afterwards, eventually for a transitory period.

    Questioned anew by "EuroFora" whether (according to critical Press Reports) this could be taken as a veiled warning that, if Cyprus didn't accept any Turkish demand for any solution whatever, it might be left alone to face Ankara's Military Invasion/Occupation, she denied :

    - "He (Bildt) didn't say it in that way"... "It was not linked to a threat, or anything like that", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service stressed.

    On the contrary, "he (Bildt) underlined that the main responsibility lies with the parties concerned on the island". "The EU can try to facilitate and show the benefits of reaching a settlement. But also, when the EU and the rest of the World (i.e. USA) will have to look at it, they will look at all the Facts on the table, and the presence of the UN Peace-keeping force is one".

    And "he (Bildt) didn't speak about that at all", she replied to "EuroFora" question on Turkey's reported attemps to impose, in one way of another, a partitionist "2 States solution".

    Asked whether Bildt's aim was to incite both parties to move forward efficiently, she agreed :

    - In fact, "the EU is really very concerned with the Stalemate in the situation. Yes !", the Head of Sweden's Foreign Ministry's Press Service anounced. That's why Bildt "was hoping for the two parties (i.e. for Turkey's also) to engage and break, a little-bit, the present stalemate, come to a solution of the issue" of Cyprus.

    But, replying  to a "EuroFora"s question on the risk, denounced by several politicians in case of strict Time Deadlines, for Turkey to provoke a stalemate and wait for the time to come to impose a partitionist "2 States' solution", she reacted by pointing at Turkey's obligation to respect "EU Acquis" :

    - "Turkey must fullfil the EU Acquis : That's clear !", the Swedish Senior Official stressed.

    More details are expected when Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt will debate his Programme with new MEPs at EU Parliament's plenary mid-July in Strasbourg, that he has visited already in 2008.

    Foreign Minister Carl Bildt became familiar with Strasbourg's CoE last year, when Sweden chaired the PanEuropean organization of Human Rights. As EU chairman-in-office, he will also chair the 27-member States strong EU Group inside the 47-member States strong CoE.

    Minister for EU affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom is well known at EU Parliament, where she has been an active MEP of the Liberal Group for many years, following also Press Freedom issues.

    Both have already made various statements at "EuroFora", on differend topical matters.

    ***

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